5 Tips on How to Find a Lost Pen

We've all had this happen before. Some more often than others. You reach for your trusty pen in your pocket/desk drawer/briefcase/purse and, to your dismay, IT ISN'T THERE! Before you know it, panic sets in, sweat starts to bead on your brow and wild accusations are being thrown out like daggers to coworkers and family members. You've lost, or as I like to put it "temporarily misplaced" your pen. To prevent also losing your mind, take a deep breath and follow these five tips to search for your MIA writing instrument in an efficient and cool-headed manner.
  1. Firstly, calm down. Losing, or thinking you've lost a prized pen can be a cause for great stress, but taking a moment to relax and objectively assess the situation will help focus and have the clarity of mind to locate the lost item.
  2. Think, "when was the last time I used the pen?" This may be easier to imagine than when was the last time you saw it, because there is usually a paper trail to give you a better clue. If you were signing forms, the date on the form will tell you when the last time you were using your pen, and may also give away the location.
  3. Gently ask people around you if they have seen your pen. Pens can sometimes sprout legs and mysteriously appear on the desks of coworkers or in other places that you would never imagine to look for your pen. Be respectful and politely ask people who may have seen or used your pen before. Refrain from using an accusing, annoyed tone when asking the "suspects." Sure, they may have pen-napped your Waterman, but there are a majority of people that do not understand the value of a fine-writing instrument and will pick up and use anything they can find. Usually, they mean no harm and would have kindly returned it to you at some point.
  4. Trace your footsteps. When you have an idea of when you last used or seen the pen, back-track your steps until you reach that time and place. Let's say, you reach into your pocket at your office desk and realize your pen is missing. You believe that you wrote a check yesterday at the bank with the pen. That is your end point. Think of all the things you did leading up to being at your desk. "I was in the break room talking to Kurt, then bathroom, then in a sales meeting when I took out my pen to lend it to the cute temp." Bingo.
  5. If all else fails, do a complete Spring Cleaning of your office or home. You remember all the crazy stuff you find when you move furniture around? That works for finding lost items as well. Instead of waiting for the next big move, rearrange some furniture or reorganize the cabinets and drawers to make sure that no stone is left unturned.
Have a story about a lost pen that magically found its way back? Please feel free to post your Lost and Found pen story in our comments section.


Now Offering Complimentary Visconti My Pen System

The My Pen System is a new way to personalize your new pen. Using a magnetic connection, the top Visconti "V" medallion can be removed and replaced with your initials. As a courtesy to our customers buying Visconti pens, we offer the service of putting your initials on your brand new pen for no additional charge. To opt for this service, please place your order as you normally would and then make a note of what initials you would like, and for which pen (if there are more than one being purchased) in the "Comments" section of our order form. If you forget to include the note, you may also e-mail us through our helpdesk or call our customer service line at your soonest convenience to make your request. Available for all Visconti Pens excluding the Van Gogh and some limited editions. Natural stones, Eastern Zodiac and Western Zodiac signs are also available by special request and cost $15.00 each. If you have received a Visconti from us in the past and would like the My Pen initials on your pen, please contact us to arrange a return. Here is a video to demonstrate the My Pen System in action.


2010 Pen Accessory Gift Ideas for Mom

For the Mom that already has her purse and drawer filled with pens, there are plenty of gift ideas that we can offer to supplement her love for pens and writing. Under $15 Moleskine Notebooks have always been a classic, go-to notebook with creative people. A new addition to our store, we offer all types of Moleskine notebooks including hardcover, soft cover, passions journals, story board, sketchbook and reporter. On Sale now! Noodler's Ink is always a great choice for a Mom who prefers the delicate touch of a fountain pen. Dozens of colors and shades are available to refill her pens. Noodler's offers the best volume price for their ink, a 89mL bottle is $12.50. Under $30 The Filofax Domino Personal Organizer comes in a variety of vivid colors and offer all the organizational needs that a busy Mom can ever want. Includes calendar diary, address sheets, ruled note sheets and more. SALE $22.95 Goldspot Gift Cards are available in a variety of amounts and are a great idea for the indecisive Mom that wants to take her time in finding her next favorite pen. Each card features a beautiful fashion photo of the Waterman Exception pen. $25.00 Gift Cards available. Libelle, NY makes a leather collection that is high on value and quality. The Black Triple Pen Pouch is made from genuine leather and can fit and protect most pens. SALE $27.95 Under $75 Jac Zagoory Peweter Pen Stand (Butterfly) is a beautiful piece of desk art that serves as a place for Mom to keep her writing instruments handy. $65.00 A Leather 20-Pen Zipped Case may be what the doctor ordered for severe cases of pen addiction. Perfect for travel and storage, each case contains 20 sets of elastic loops to hold Mom's collection safe and secure. SALE $51.95 The Filofax Cuban Slimline Organizer has been a great seller and here's why: smooth, 100% genuine leather that's large enough to write daily notes and slim enough to fit into your bag or purse. Available in Chili or Saddle Brown for a great value. SALE $71.95 And, for the Mom that has ALMOST everything... The Vox Luxury Rosewood Veneer Stationery Box is a writer's ultimate prize. It houses five stationery compartments and five smaller compartments for loose writing accoutrement such as stamps, pens, bottled ink and ink cartridges. It comes complete with a supply of fine linen paper, a brass letter holder , and its own lock and key. $299.95


Mother's Day Pen Gift Ideas 2010

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 9th and this year, Mom can enjoy the luxury of a fine pen at a great price. Goldspot Pens has the best selection of writing gifts for all the world's best Moms.

Under $30
Sheaffer Deluxe Calligraphy Kit contains three elegant pen "holders," three calligraphic nibs (in fine, medium and broad), 6 color ink cartridges, piston converter (for bottled ink use), and an instruction booklet. SALE $29.95

Sheaffer Gift Collection Pen & Pencil Sets offer three colors : Glossy Plum, Glossy Black w/ Nickel and Brushed Nickel. Each of these colors is presented in a beautiful, pink gift box. SALE $22.95

Waterman Audace Shiny Pearl or City of Style Ballpoint pens are 50% off and a great value. Stylish and colorful, each pen is presented in a Waterman gift pouch. SALE $29.95

Under $50
Sensa Mosaic pens are the last of a popular brand, loved by Moms and others who prefer the special gel grip comfort while writing. SALE $39.95

Libelle, NY produces the out-of-this-world Moon Stones and Celestial Rings rollerball pens. The colorful acrylic finishes look much more expensive than the price we sell them for. SALE $49.95

The Monteverde Diva is always a great choice for ladies. Also known as the "lipstick pen," the Diva's telescopic twist-action opens the point much like a tube of lipstick. A red, heart-shaped box accompanies the Ruby Red pen. SALE $35.95

Under $100
Waterman Carene Garnet Red rollerball has a smooth, flowing shape to the body that offers plenty of writing comfort and balance. Sold in a Waterman blue leatherette gift box. SALE $99.95

Waterman Expert Dune Red ballpoint gives Mom a classic, European style pen with gold trim and the convenience of a twist-action ballpoint. SALE $99.95

Parker Sonnet Premier Red Rollerball offers classic Parker quality, gold plated trims and arrow clip. Sold with a Parker gift box. SALE $74.95

Under $200
Pelikan Souveran K320 Orange Marble Ballpoint Pen - pocket sized and ready to fit in Mom's pocket book or leather agenda. SALE $168.95

Waterman Perspective Champagne Fountain Pen - Mom will love taking this pen to work with its stylish, architecturally inspired lines and creamy champagne color. Available in fine or medium nib sizes. SALE $124.95

Waterman Charleston Ivory GT Fountain Pen in medium point gives your Mom the elegance of a 14kt solid gold fountain pen nib with the beautiful pairing of Ivory with gold trims. SALE $139.95


Conklin Endura Patriot Red Ballpoint Review

The "New" Conklin Endura is part of the re-release campaign by Yafa Pen Co., distributors of Monteverde and Delta pens. Last year, they bought the Conklin brand, which was often wrought with quality control issues. As part of their "refresh" of the brand, Yafa produced the Endura, along with the popular Mark Twain Crescent and Herringbone collections. For the most part, the overall "look" is almost true to the Conklin pens made prior to 2009. However, there are some key differences that the consumer should definitely not overlook. One noticeable change is the direction of the Conklin logo stamped on the clip. On new Conklin pens, the logo is read from left to right when a right-handed person holds the pen in their hand. Besides the clip, the Yafa-bred Conklin pens have a higher-degree of quality in the details. The Endura arrives in the Conklin blue gift box, which is fairly large and features a white, satin-like interior where the pen rests. As with most Conklins, the Endura has a fairly generous stature. This is certainly not for the delicate hand. The barrel and cap are made from solid, marble resin. The faceted, 12-sided barrel is polished to a high gloss to match the shining trims. The resins themselves are semi-translucent in areas and the color choice for the Patriot Red has that vintage appeal, while being patriotic. The twist-action Endura ballpoint pen uses a Parker Style refill, which is one of the most common types of ballpoint refills (you can even find a refill at a CVS drugstore usually). Also, thanks to Monteverde, you can swap the standard blue or black ballpoint refill for a capless gel or a variety of ballpoint colors. I wrote with the refill that originally comes with the pen, which was a fine point refill in black. While things like flow and smoothness of the tip can be interchangeable by exchanging the refill, what I will comment on are things like the weight, balance and overall writing comfort of the pen. That being said, the grand profile is not meant for everyone. The faceted sides of the resin barrel can be a bit rough unless you clutch the pen closely to the cone tip. Overall, the pen is a big weighty, but well-balanced and comfortable to write with if you are a fan of pens with a larger diameter. Summary:
  • Writing Quality : Would be comfortable for writers who prefer a thicker pen with more heft. The faceted sides can be bothersome. (grade B)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Resin design is unique, colorful and interesting while giving that vintage look. Gift box offers pleasant presentation. (grade A-)
  • Utility : A Conklin is not going to easily fit in your pocket, purse or organizer pen loop. The twist-action ballpoint is smooth and the Parker-style refill offers the convenience of compatibility. (grade B+)
  • Price : The Endura Ballpoint is available in Smokey Grey, Patriot Red and Emerald Green. Goldspot Pens offers a 20% discount for a final price of $67.95. A bit on the expensive side for a resin twist-action ballpoint, but we are talking about a super-sized Conklin. (grade B-)
Final Grade : B While offering some unique resin finishes and a revamped Conklin design, the Endura's large size and faceted barrel lowers the writing quality for most.


Weekend Pen Spotlight

Before we get into this weeks' links, we would like to remind our blog subscribers that Goldspot is having a site/store-wide sale on thousands of fine writing pens and accessories. Just look for the "Spring Fever" sale tag to find the best deals. Make sure to take advantage of our free shipping on orders of $75 or more anywhere in the US. Act now, the sale will be ending by Monday, the 19th. Now, to our favorite pen posts this week: Inkophile reviews the Noodler's #41 Brown, which was created in honor of newly elected Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. Thanks to Letters and Journals for reminding us that April is National Letter Writing Month. So, get writing! Write a love letter to your significant other or a letter to your Senator. Pick a topic that has you spirited and enthusiastic to reach for your pen and paper to scribble each passionate sentence. We had the Tale of Two Ipsilon Reviews this week, as both Biffybeans and Officesupplygeek reviewed the Aurora Ipsilon fountain pen. At the Spiritual Evolution of the Bean, the Ipsilon was held in comparison to a Pelikan m200 and Sailor Sapporo. Officesupplygeek shows off the box and a comparison writing sample. The comments section got hijacked by Der Bingle and myself going off-topic about the pen industry and selling on eBay. Will be back soon with more reviews and a gift-giving guide for Mother's Day and College Grads. Have a great weekend!


Visconti Homo Sapiens Lava Fountain Pen Review

"Lava" is the word for 2010 when it comes to fine pens. Pen craftsman often incorporate materials that either heighten the luxury or functionality of the pen. Leather, carbon fiber, stainless steel, celluloid and the like can offer an aesthetic or tactile feature, but the best materials not only "look" good, but add function to the writing instrument as well. That's where the new Visconti Homo Sapiens lava comes flowing in. This pen isn't made of 100% pure lava, but the perfected blend is just enough to incorporate the properties that make this pen truly unique and function on more levels. The high density of the material makes it tougher to chip, break or shatter. The porous nature of the basaltic lava makes the surface hygroscopic, meaning it can absorb the hand sweat of a teenager on a first date. It is also flame-proof, which is good in case you accidentally mistake your pen for a Churchill cigar. At first glance, from the product photography indicates that the black barrel and cap is just a matte black look. If you look at the photo below, you will see that the black actually is much more varied and Earthly-looking than you would probably expect. The clip, center band and trim are made from solid bronze, which is another unique choice considering most pen-makers go with a gold-plated brass, sterling silver or chrome plated aluminum. Symbolically, it represents the Bronze Age of prehistory, tying in with the pen's theme of honoring the origins of mankind. Materially, bronze requires much less polishing and does not tarnish as sterling silver does. If there is any doubt that Visconti polished their clips enough, take a look at this photo: Can you see the camera lens reflection in the clip? If there is anyone sneaking up behind you to steal your pen, you can have the drop on them! Metallurgy and volcanic rock aside, we have to mention the 23ct Palladium "dreamtouch" nib. It certainly is a dream. The nib responds with the lightest of touch, providing plenty of flex as well. After using a fine point in this review, I realized that if I'm going to buy it, I would rather get the extra-fine. The fine writes more on the medium side. I don't have enough experience with Visconti pens to say that this is the same with their other collections, but maybe a Visconti fan out there can confirm that. Now, I've read some criticisms already on Fountain Pen Network about the power filler. Yet another uncommon feature about this fountain pen is the power-filling system for use with bottled ink. Trying it out for myself did yield some disappointing results. I really couldn't get much ink to fill in the pen, despite filling as directed. I believe this is one of those things that I have to find the trick to, but have not yet mastered it. When I have cracked the mystery, I will definitely post a video demonstration on YouTube to help others. For now, we have a video from the Visconti warranty DVD that demonstrates the filling procedure. So, how do all the innovative details of this pen effect the writing experience? Aesthetically, the lava black and gold, matched with the large, barrel-like shape of the barrel and cap gives the impression of a formal, traditional style. The gritty, natural-looking texture of the lava material and bronze appointments adds another dimension to the design. The density of the material gives a well-balanced heft that is best left unposted. On a side note, I have been learning to accept writing without posting my cap on the back of the fountain pen. For this Homo Sapiens lava pen, the cap adds too much weight and length to the back of the pen. Speaking of the cap, the lava fountain pen and rollerball feature a "child-proof" screw off cap. If you take a look above the bronze band that says "Homo Sapiens," you will see what looks like a geometric wave design. The cap fits on and off by pushing down and turning ever-so-slightly. Where most twist-off caps on pens take 2 or 3 full turns to remove the cap, this Visconti takes a quarter of a turn. The feel of the grip is solid and does resist accumulation of hand sweat while in use. The matte quality of the Lava material offers a great deal of "tackiness" that allows for easy gripping and no slipping. Also included in the Visconti box is a pull-out side drawer that contains the warranty booklet, mini-DVD (which is not to be used in MacBooks or iMac DVD slot drives - found out the hard way on that one) and a polishing cloth. Summary:
  • Writing Quality : 23ct Palladium "dreamtouch" nib lives up to all the hype. Flexible and requires the lightest touch to write a smooth, flowing line. (grade A+)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Inspired by the bronze age and the dawn of civilization, the Homo Sapiens delivers on a classic aesthetic of black and gold with a twist that adds more sophistication and distinction to the pen. (grade A)
  • Utility : The resilient lava offers gripping comfort and absorbs hand sweat. The quarter-turn cap is also convenient and secure. The power-filler doesn't seem to be as effective as a piston filler (e.g. Pelikan). (grade B+)
  • Price : Available in extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.3mm stub and double broad sizes for $595 (you may call for any current pricing promotions), this is an extremely fair price for such a unique and innovative design. (grade B+)
Final Grade : A By far, the most expensive pen that we've reviewed, but also the most impressive. In the coming months, pen fans will be reading a lot of hype in both print and online media. It is totally justified and well-deserved. It would not surprise me if this pen becomes our reader's choice pen of the year by November. If you already own or are planning on purchasing the Visconti Homo Sapiens, please feel free to add your thoughts on the lava, the power filler, the dreamtouch nib, etc.


Private Reserve Velvet Black Fountain Pen Ink Review

If you're looking for a rich, dark black ink for your fountain pen, look no further than the Private Reserve formula of Velvet Black. You're not going to have the fraud-proofing qualities of a Noodler's Bulletproof black, but you will get a darker, more saturated black that flows well from the nib to the fibers of the paper. I had a chance to try out the new Visconti Homo Sapiens Lava fountain pen with Velvet Black and had very satisfying results. The flow is excellent. No feathering, but there is a significant amount of bleed-through on the opposite side of the page of my Levenger Circa paper. Forget about using on a Moleskine. Pretty slow drying time at between 2 to 3 seconds. I would recommend using Velvet Black with a fine or extra-fine nib on a heavier-than-normal paper quality. If you have your own experience with this Private Reserve color, please share and let me know what pen and paper combination you use with the ink. What works best for you?


Weekend Pen Spotlight

For starters, sometimes we just need to be pushed in order to get creative and write, draw, sculpt, etc. This post by Michael Nobbs will "light a fire" to get those creative juices flowing (plus, there is a Lamy Safari in the accompanying picture).

A few weeks ago, we were talking about Obama and his 22 pens to sign off on health care. This week, CBS News reports that the President reads 10 personal letters a day. How does he respond to so many comments, inquiries and complaints?

He had always preferred to write by hand, using a yellow legal pad to craft sections of his autobiography and his campaign speeches. Now he took out a black fountain pen and started to write in the top left corner.

"Jennifer," he began.

Obama had made a habit of keeping his responses short: one sentence that expressed gratitude for the letter, and one or two more that tended toward encouragement instead of advice. "Dream big dreams," he wrote to one teenager. "I'll try to do better for you next week," he wrote to a detractor.
Notebook Stories hosted this month's Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper. The Carnival is always a fun read and a great way to find new bloggers writing about being creative with pen & paper products. Many thanks to Nifty for hosting the Carnival and selecting Goldspot's Post on "How Pen Addiction Starts."

Inkyjournal reviews a vintage bottle of Pelikan 4001 blue-black fountain pen ink. I loved the desktop wallpaper photo so much that I'm now using it on my iMac at the office.

Letters & Journals is working hard on a new website to promote the release of their magazine of the same name. Jackie is looking for submissions to the magazine, article ideas, and any other suggestions to make the first issue a great read.

Lastly, Stephanie over at Rhodia Drive asks, "What would you do with lightning bug ink?" The obvious answer : write love notes to lightning bugs, leave it outside at night and see what happens! The new J. Herbin Phosphorescente ink will debut at the National Stationery Show this May at the Jacob Javits Center.

Have a brilliant weekend, everyone! We will be back with a few pen reviews this week, so be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed with your favorite reader.


Winner of the Goldspot Easter Egg Giveaway

Did you really think it was going to be that easy?
The hunt began at 2pm Eastern time on Friday, April 2nd and ended Sunday evening at 6:18pm when Doug M had found the egg attached to a Sheaffer Prelude fountain pen in Radiant Magenta (fine point).
Doug wins a $25 gift card to our store, Goldspot.com. Congrats, Doug!

As promised, a random Twitter user who promoted our giveaway was also awarded a $25 gift card to our store. In total, we received 8 re-tweets from unique Twitter users. From those eight, re-tweet number 3 was selected, which is @DIYSara. Congrats, Sara!

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Easter Egg Hunt!


Goldspot Easter Egg Hunt Giveaway

This weekend, you could win a $25.00 gift card to our website (www.goldspot.com) to spend on pens, ink and other writing accessories! We hid an Easter egg on one of our product pages for you to find. The Easter egg looks like this :
Once you find the egg, copy and paste the direct URL link (example - http://www.goldspot.com/...etc.html) as a comment on this blog post. The first person to post the link correctly will win the $25 gift code that we will e-mail to you. Since each comment is time-stamped, there will be only one true winner. Please do not post the link on our Facebook page or on Twitter, ONLY on this blog.

You can also win another $25.00 gift card by spreading the word on Twitter. We will give away one $25.00 gift code to one randomly-selected twitter user that Re-Tweets our giveaway this weekend. For those who are new to Twitter, copy, paste and tweet the following message:

RT @goldspotpens $25 Goldspot gift card Easter Egg Hunt Giveaway http://tinyurl.com/bw5uca

When you tweet, please make sure that you include our twitter username @goldspotpens and the link to our blog http://goldspotpens.blogspot.com. For this part of the giveaway, we will count only one Re-Tweet per user. Be sure that your followers would not appreciate getting spammed with a flood of giveaway tweets.

If the egg is still not found by Saturday, we will post a hint on our Twitter and Facebook pages to help you in your search. If it is still not found by Sunday, we will post one last hint. Happy Hunting!

Forms and Fountain Pens

With the 2010 Census stuffed in mail boxes around the US and dutiful taxpayers filing their taxes (for better or worse), Americans are filling out important forms this month. As a retailer of fine-writing goods, we often get the question of which type of pen is best for the job? Forms can be tricky, so pay careful attention to the type of form you are writing on before whipping out a Lamy Safari with Fiesta Red ink. The Census, for example, clearly says to write in only blue or black ink. Would Blue-Black be acceptable? Do you want to invite the census workers to call you out on it? The main purpose of using blue or black ink is to provide the most contrast against the white paper. Especially when photocopied or electronically scanned, lighter colors will not show up as clearly. Another thing you want to look for is if the form has a carbon (or carbon-less) copy attached. The carbon copy needs enough pressure exerted by the tip of the pen on the top form in order to make an impression on the bottom copy. Fountain pens and rollerball pens are generally not recommended for these types of forms since the writer is supposed to use little to no force in pressing with the tip or nib. Either your writing will never reach the bottom page or you will snap the tines on your fountain pen nib trying to do so. Any forms or papers that need to be faxed, scanned or e-mailed should be written in a dark ink, but the mode of pen choice is completely up to you. Signatures are usually easier with a rollerball pen or fountain pen. If you're signing many documents a day, you may find yourself with hand cramps if jotting them with a ballpoint pen. However, the utility and convenience of a twist-action or click-top ballpoint pen may come in handy if you're signing on-the-go. Ink color can be a sensitive issue in a business environment. While showing personality and individuality, choosing an ink color other than the standard blue or black can come off as unprofessional and may be looked down upon by your boss and peers. Imagine that your coworker Bernice always hands you phone messages, TPS reports and important memos written in bright pink against white paper. Her eyes might be able to take the punishing onslaught of fuchsia, but you are popping a Tylenol every afternoon for some unknown reason... A good way to tell what ink colors are business appropriate is the same way we observe attire. See what others are using in their pens. Most darker colors are suitable in a casual office environment. Typically, a standard red should only be reserved for those who are editing or grading papers. Since there is such a strong mental connection to the color red as a "warning" or "error," you should refrain from using it when filling out forms or participating in office correspondence. What kind of pens and inks do you use in your day-to-day business writing? Have you experienced any double-takes or refusal to accept a form written in an odd ink color? As always, your feedback is much appreciated!